The Thanksgiving Holiday weekend offers horse racing bettors a double-dose of major graded stakes action at Aqueduct Racetrack and Churchill Downs.
Both of these races feature a solid field of two-year old thoroughbreds looking to put themselves firmly on the 2016 Kentucky Derby Trail with strong showing in this Saturday’s races.
The first race on Saturday’s card is the Remsen Stakes at Aqueduct followed by the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes at Churchill and here is a look at my favorite on the betting odds to win each event as well as few other horses to work into the mix for your exacta bets.
Remsen Stakes - Aqueduct Racetrack
The Remsen is a Grade 2 stakes race for 2-year old thoroughbreds contested on dirt over a distance of 1 1/8 miles. The total prize purse for this race has been set at $300,000.
Heading into this Saturday’s race there are nine horses entered into the field. While four of the contenders are rated by Horse Racing Nation, my top horse betting pick is Mohaymen as the most talented juvenile in this field. This two-year old Kentucky bred colt is trained by Kiaran McLaughlin and ridden by Junior Alvarado and coming off an impressive victory in this year’s Grade 2 Nashua Stakes at Aqueduct on Nov. 4.
This was just the second race of his career after winning a Maiden Special Weight race at Belmont Park in late September. The other thing I like about Mohaymen along with his strong 7.82 HRN rating is a pedigree from Tapit, who had a strong racing career as a three-year old in 2004.
If you are looking for a solid pick for an exacta play in this year’s Remsen, I would go with Sail Ahoy. This two-year old Kentucky bred colt finished in the money in this year’s Nashua Stakes with a third-place finish. Trained by Claude McGaughey III and ridden by Joel Rosario, he has raced four times in his juvenile career and he finished in the money three times including a victory in a Maiden Special Weight race at Belmont in early September.
The only race he failed to finish in the top three spots was a solid fourth-place run in the Grade 1 Champagne Stakes at Belmont on Oct. 3. To me, this proves that Sail Ahoy can step-up and compete at a higher class.
Must Read: 2016 Kentucky Derby Futures Odds
Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes - Churchill Downs
This year’s Grade 2 Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes has a total prize purse of $200,000. It is open to two-year old thoroughbreds and contested on the dirt track at Churchill over a distance of 1 1/16 miles.
The crowded field for this race currently has 14 entries on the board with quite a few of the horses carrying a rating by HRN, making it a challenge to handicap. Going through the field the one juvenile that caught my eye to make it to the top of my list is Airoforce. Trained by Mark Casse and ridden by Julien Leparoux, this two-year old Kentucky bred colt made quite a splash at the end of October with a second-place finish to Hit It A Bomb in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf at Keeneland. This followed a victory in the Grade 3 Bourbon Stakes at that same track on Oct. 4.
The one concern for Saturday could be the transition from turf to dirt. However, the simple fact that he took second in one of the most competitive races for two-year olds makes him my pick to win this race in what is shaping up to be a very promising career.
There are few contenders you could use as a strong exacta pairing in this race, but I have settled-in on Annual Report as my top pick. This two-year old Kentucky bred colt has a great trainer in Kiaran McLaughlin and he is ridden by veteran jockey Joe Bravo. His biggest claim to fame as a juvenile is a victory in this year’s Grade 2 Futurity at Belmont Park on Oct. 17.
Annual Report has only raced twice as a two-year old, but he has won both events including a victory in a Maiden Special Weight race at Philadelphia Park in late September. He actually has the highest HRN rating of any horse in the field for this Saturday’s race at 6.89.
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